Tens of Thousands of Baby Seals Were Born on an Active Volcanic Island in Alaska
Sat, April 10, 2021

Tens of Thousands of Baby Seals Were Born on an Active Volcanic Island in Alaska

 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified the northern fur seal population as “vulnerable” for at least two decades now. This is primarily because they are being hunted for their luscious coats by North American and Russian commercial traders. They typically inhabit the Pacific Ocean waters from California to Japan. However, they have recenly turned Bogoslof Island in Alaska – which happens to be the tip of an underwater active volcano – into a breeding ground. 

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Every year, tens of thousands of baby seals are born here. The island has an active volcano, which last erupted in 2017, making researchers wonder how they thrive there. The island is surrounded by fumaroles – which spew hot gas – boiling mud pots, and hot geysers. “The surface is covered with these big, ballistic blocks, some as big as 10 meters [33 feet] in length that were exploded out of the vent,” said Waythomas. “They litter the surface. It’s pretty wild,” geophysicist Chris Waythomas said. 

 

Photo Credit: All That's Interesting

 

All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they see on the news or read in history books, reported that biologists estimated an annual growth rate of just over 10 percent to approximately 28,000 pups on the island in 2015. This year, more than 36,000 pups are expected to be born. Tom Gelatt, a fisheries biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, stated that the seals can hunt squid and smooth tongue fish, which are abundant in nearby deep waters. 

 

Photo Credit: All That's Interesting

 

Aside from that, the island is far from their winter feeding grounds. This reduces the risk of new pups suffering through the Bering Sea storms. However, the seals may be putting themselves at greater risk. Researchers found out that there are signs of unwanted predators surrounding the island. “That first summer we saw a lot of pups on the beach learning how to swim. At the same time, we saw killer whales in the area teaching their pups how to hunt,” Waythomas said. 

 

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